Home News SARAH VINE: Are you a cool kid or a cranky codger?

SARAH VINE: Are you a cool kid or a cranky codger?


So much for his band being 'bigger than Jesus'. It emerged this week that a third of children aged six to 16 have no idea why John Lennon was famous (with one speculating that he 'discovered glasses') — while 15 per cent say they have never even heard of him

So much for his band being ‘bigger than Jesus’. It emerged this week that a third of children aged six to 16 have no idea why John Lennon was famous (with one speculating that he ‘discovered glasses’) — while 15 per cent say they have never even heard of him

So much for his band being ‘bigger than Jesus’. It emerged this week that a third of children aged six to 16 have no idea why John Lennon was famous (with one speculating that he ‘discovered glasses’) — while 15 per cent say they have never even heard of him.

By contrast, 82 per cent know who Sir Elton John is — and only 8 per cent had never heard of Sir David Attenborough, making him possibly the most down-with-the-kids nonagenarian in the history of the human race.

It’s funny what children do and don’t pick up on. It reminded me of when my daughter was very small and, having just begun to read, picked up my father’s treasured copy of the album Let It Bleed, by the Rolling Stones — the one with the cake on the cover.

A couple of days later, she asked me, ‘Can we put on Jimmy Shelter, Mummy?’

‘Jimmy who, darling?’ I asked her.

‘You know, grandpa’s favourite singer, the one who likes cake: Jimmy Shelter.’

It took me a while to work out that she was referring to the title of the first song on the album, Gimme Shelter, which she had misread.

Ever since then, Mick Jagger has been known as Jimmy Shelter in our house.

I had the idea of setting my two teenagers (Bea, 17 and Will, 15) a quiz to determine how much they actually knew about the culture of my generation — and asking them to do the same for me, writes Sarah Vine

I had the idea of setting my two teenagers (Bea, 17 and Will, 15) a quiz to determine how much they actually knew about the culture of my generation — and asking them to do the same for me, writes Sarah Vine

But for all they get in a muddle about the adult world, there is even less that we adults understand about theirs. Especially when they turn into teenagers.

It’s not just the mysterious text-speak, or the unfathomable slang, it’s people, places and personalities central to their existence that never even cross our radar.

So I had the idea of setting my two teenagers (Bea, 17 and Will, 15) a quiz to determine how much they actually knew about the culture of my generation — and asking them to do the same for me.

It was quite an eye-opener, for myself and my husband, as you will see . . .

QUESTIONS FOR TEENS (AND HOW SARAH’S COOL KIDS ANSWERED) 

1 Who is Peter Sellers?

Will and Bea: No clue

2 What was Morecambe and Wise?

Will: A shrimp company? I know shrimp comes from Morecambe.

Bea: Some sort of old person’s alcohol?

3 Who was Terry Wogan?

Will: The British Larry King.

Bea: Dunno. Football player?

4 Who was the Queen’s sister?

Will: Ummm. No clue.

Bea: Diana?

Who was Terry Wogan? Will: The British Larry King; Bea: Dunno. Football player?

Who was Terry Wogan? Will: The British Larry King; Bea: Dunno. Football player?

5 Who was Liz Taylor?

Will: Err. Oh. Actor, daughter of the bloke from Aerosmith. Oh no, that’s Liv Tyler.

Bea: The founder of Cath Kidston?

6 Who is the heir to the throne?

Will: Prince William. No, wait. Prince Philip.

Bea: The old one. Wait, is he her brother or her son?

7 Name three Abba songs.

Will: Easy. Winner Takes It All, Dancing Queen, Waterloo.

Bea: Mamma Mia. The Christmas one. Waterloo Bridge?

8 Who was Richard Nixon?

Will: American President in the Eighties.

Bea: That.

Who was Liz Taylor? Will: Err. Oh. Actor, daughter of the bloke from Aerosmith. Oh no, that's Liv Tyler; Bea: The founder of Cath Kidston?

Who was Liz Taylor? Will: Err. Oh. Actor, daughter of the bloke from Aerosmith. Oh no, that’s Liv Tyler; Bea: The founder of Cath Kidston?

9 Who is Cliff Richard?

Both: Singer. (Sir Cliff really is the eternal teenager, it seems.)

10 What is a fax machine?

Will: One would use a fax machine to type a message to someone else with a fax machine.

Bea: It’s like it transports a paper to another fax machine. It’s like email but you put paper in a machine.

11 What’s the difference between 45 and 33rpm?

Will: Um. RPM is a measurement of revs per minute in a car and the difference between 45 and 33 is quite substantial.

Bea: Is it to do with motorbikes?

12 Why is real ale real?

Will: Because only men drink it?

Bea: Because it makes people real drunk?

13 What was the Berlin Wall?

Will: It was a wall separating the West from the rest of Berlin.

Bea: Big wall put up by Soviets. Taken down when Soviets ended. People were happy.

14 What was the Cold War?

Will: It was a war of negotiation in the 20th century between Russia and America.

Bea: Basically, two big countries being rather childish.

Who was Arthur Scargill? Will: Author; Bea: No clue

Who was Arthur Scargill? Will: Author; Bea: No clue

15 Complete: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier . . .

Will: Spy. Obviously.

Bea: Wife?

16 What is a gamp? (Who needs an umbrella when a hoodie will do?)

Will: A broken ankle?

Bea: An STD?

17 Who was Arthur Scargill?

Will: Author.

Bea: No clue.

18 Who was Jeeves?

Will: A character composed by P.J. Wodehouse and he was a butler.

Bea: A bassist?

19 What is a cat’s eye?

Will: Er, old people slang for female genitalia?

Bea: Similar to a katsu?

20 Scaramouche, Scaramouche, can you do the fandango. What does this have to do with Prague?

Will: Ah, yes. Bohemian Rhapsody. Bohemia is a place in the Czech Republic. Capital of Czech Republic is Prague.

Bea: No idea. But there were thunderbolts and lightning and it was very frightening.

QUESTIONS FOR CODGERS (AND HOW SARAH AND HER HUSBAND MICHAEL FARED) 

1 Who was Lil Peep?

Me: A rapper (even I know that everyone with the prefix ‘Lil’ is a rapper)

2 What is Calvin Klein?

Me: Expensive pants?

Children: It’s street slang for cocaine and ketamine.

Me (worried voice): How do you know that?

Kids: The internet.

3 What is Evisu?

Me: A brand of overpriced jeans, obviously. Bingo!

Who's Lil Yachty? My husband : Big Yachty's younger brother? Me: Another rapper? Bingo again!

Who’s Lil Yachty? My husband : Big Yachty’s younger brother? Me: Another rapper? Bingo again!

4 What is BAPE?

Me: A brand of vape?

Kids: It’s leading ‘sportsluxe’ brand (overpriced sweatshirts) Bathing Ape. Loved by rappers.

5 What is a ring of fire?

My husband (who is next door earwigging): An aspect of Siegfried, the third opera of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Kids: Nope. It’s a drinking game.

6 Who’s Lil Yachty?

My husband: Big Yachty’s younger brother?

Me: Another rapper? Bingo again!

7 What is tagging?

Me: Referencing someone on an online post.

Kids: Signature graffiti symbol.

8 What is an E-girl?

Me: Not sure I want to know the answer to this one.

Will: A woman on the internet who wears little clothing to attract male attention.

9 What is a vsco girl?

Me: Oh God.

Will: A girl who focuses a lot on her academic studies and is extremely Left-wing.

Me: Oh, so like your sister?

They both fall off the sofa laughing. I later discover this is a term for environmentally-aware, middle-class girls who wear little make-up, scrunchies and shell necklaces. So not Bea.

What is Spoons? Me: An item of cutlery, a type of cuddle?; Kids: An abbreviated term for Wetherspoons, a popular drinking spot for teens

What is Spoons? Me: An item of cutlery, a type of cuddle?; Kids: An abbreviated term for Wetherspoons, a popular drinking spot for teens

10 What is a motive?

Me: A reason for acting in a certain way?

Kids: A social gathering.

11 What is Spoons?

Me: An item of cutlery, a type of cuddle?

Kids: An abbreviated term for Wetherspoons, a popular drinking spot for teens.

12 Who is James Charles?

My husband (still earwigging): A Jacobite pretender to the throne?

Kids: That’s not even funny, Dad. He’s a make-up influencer and LGBT activist.

13 Who are The Social Climbers?

My husband: People who enjoy going up mountains and having a drink at the end. As opposed to people who enjoy going up mountains and not having a drink at the end.

Kids: YouTubers.

14 What is a bunda?

My husband: Is it to do with German football? As in the Bundesliga?

Will: Slang for a large, attractive bottom.

Husband: Gosh.

15 What’s a clicker?

My husband: A device used in cricket so you can work out how many times someone has bowled in an over.

Kids: An internet scammer.

16 What is Palace?

Me: Oh, I know! A Premier League club in Croydon?

Kids: It’s a clothing brand.

What is a clicker? My husband: A device used in cricket so you can work out how many times someone has bowled in an over; Kids: An internet scammer

What is a clicker? My husband: A device used in cricket so you can work out how many times someone has bowled in an over; Kids: An internet scammer

17 What is a clamp?

Me: What you put on the car of someone who has broken parking restrictions.

Will: Actually, a very tough tackle in football.

Bea: No one cares about your stupid football, Will.

18 What is a whip?

My husband: Someone who ensures MPs do everything the Government wants them to do.

Kids (rolling eyes): A car.

19 Who’s Harry Wroetoshaw?

Me: A slam poet?

Will: Legendary Fifa player and a member of YouTube stars The Sidemen.

20 What does bare mean?

Me (thinking they mean ‘bear’): A large mammal or a hirsute homosexual gentleman?

Kids: No, Mum. It’s bare, slang for ‘a lot’. As in ‘there are bare people at this motive’.

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